Friday, November 26, 2010

Self Portrait

The one time that I obligingly took a photo of myself, it came out like this. I thought it was pretty neat, ego and vanity not withstanding. Hah!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

If there's enlightenment.

I suppose there should be endarkenment, right?

Monday, September 27, 2010

When We Were Young(er)

my girlies: Tonet, Joy, me, Ren (photo taken by Pam)
Time is tricky. Minutes, hours, and days pass. And before you know it, years had passed. And you wake up wondering where all that time went. It's weird to go through today feeling like I'm a bag full of happy memories. Maybe it's the way the year is almost ending and I'm remembering all good-things-past. 

This is a picture (one of the many of us) of my really good friends taken on a send-off party for one of us leaving for a new life in the US. Did we look any different from then till now? Despite everything, I couldn't argue that life had definitely been kind.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Feast Of Strangers

I was cleaning up my files to free up some space on my hard drive and found some pictures I took of people I met along the way.

Such friendly strangers. 

I love how the world is full of them. And how the power of a smile make people into friends.

I met Rebeca in Kalinga-Apayao. She was so very gracious and so beautiful. The tribes in the Cordilleras are wary of strangers but she let me take a picture of her to remember her by. The necklace she is wearing in this photo belonged to her ancestors. Each bead would make it priceless beyond imagination.

This little girl I met in Vigan in a burnay-making factory. She took my hand and showed me around her family's estate where up till now the centuries-old tradition of burnay is kept alive. 

I met Karolina on jeep stop in Sagada going to Bontoc. She  and I had the same route and we ganged up till Banaue. While there, she found out her Chinese VISA got cancelled and she had to spend an extra day in Manila. So we ended up trekking back to the city and this is a picture of her on her send-off in Malate. 

During the Holy Week, residents of the older part of Makati celebrate the Holy Week by parading different statues of saints and Jesus. These men who carried this statue of Jesus crowned with thorns for at least 2 miles barefoot gamely posed for me for a respite. 

Girl from Krispy Kreme

Oh how perceptive. I asked this tour guide in Ha Long to pose next to the sign. Funny thing was, I don't think he got my joke. 
Maria and Andy were some random people I met up with on a Valentine night in Siem Reap. Along with other Couchsurfers, I still kept in touch with them, each of us promising a couch and a friend if anyone visits one another's countries.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Today I watched a beautiful sunset. And with a candy bar on my left hand, everything in the world was made right again.

Monday, September 13, 2010


The old crumbling city outside is looking in while I'm inside looking out.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Mele Kalikimaka!

September the sodding 8th marks the day I heard my first Christmas song for the year.

This year, I'm spared a layer of cheese and got The Beach Boys to herald my holidays. Yey!

(... and yes, I'm taking this as a good sign)

Advance Happy Meli Kalikimaka everyone!


Listent to the Song here: Meli Kalikimaka by The Beach Boys

Monday, September 06, 2010

I Want A Hearth

In these rainy, cold Ber months, there's no better place to be than by a crackling fireplace.

..Then again, I reminded myself that I have no hearth nor anything remotely resembling such things. Lamentable that the closest thing I do have is an electric stove..

Still it would be nice to imagine that if ever I do have a hearth, I'd be doing the following things:

a. Invite some musicians over and interview them and watch the flames' shadows dance on their faces.
b. Spread a handmade doily-blanket across my legs while reading the rise and fall of empires.
c. Invent stories and tell them to my dog ala John Hurt as The Storyteller.
d. Sit behind an old-fashioned typewriter and randomly type things. It doesn't have to be anything really, just the sound of the typewriter clack-clack-clacking against paper is enough.
e. DIY postcards and write random notes to friends scattered across the world.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Between Nowhere And Infinity: Into The Cordilleras

When I explained my trekking plans to the Cordilleras to my friends, I was vehemently discouraged, warned of the NPA and other bandits living deep in the mountains, possible abductions by tribal headhunters, almost non-existent road conditions, catastrophic landslides, tribal unrest, and a host of other evil portents that would all lead to my untimely death.

Of course, as I've always known, these weren't what I found.

The abandoned remains of the Chico River Diversion Dam was a mad place to start. Built in the 60s, it saw bloody battles between the tribes defending their ancestral domains and the Marcos administration. The project was finally shelved in the 1980s.

Jeepneys in these parts are hybrid 4x4s that run on diesel. They're mountain bad-asses and could traverse the most treacherous of roads. Passengers are a hodgepodge of people, goats, pigs, bales of vegetables, and sacks of rice.

Chanced upon these boys building their own toy car with wood, recycled rubber, a bagful of nails, and a heaps of imagination.

An old man painstainkingly shucks each palay.

I had the good fortune of meeting and being invited to the home of Alonzo Saclag, village elder and probably one of the last living crusader of the Kalingan culture. He still fashions traditional musical instruments by hand to this day.

Mr. Saclag and his lovely wife, Rebecca, offered me a cup of very strong coffee. In their tribal tradition, a drink offered to a guest means giving that person their tribe's utmost respect and protection.

In my wanderings, these kids gave me a warm welcome and grand tour of their village. Unlike their counterparts in bigger towns, these kids have not learned to ask for anything but would instead offer you their hands and show you around. They took me to their school and in the school's backyard was a sprawling amphiteater of rice terraces.

A grandmother carrying her grandchild.

Bus rides throughout the Cordilleras is long, bumpy, and butt-numbing at best. But you get to meet wonderful people who would share their produce, smiles, and stories to while the time.

Like a boy, I was excited! The jeepney ride I took from Lubuagan and Tinglayen to Bontoc was a heart-pounding, epic 4 hour journey that cut through rocky, unpaved and sometimes muddy terrain. Sometimes, there'd only be four inches of space between the tire and the ravine.

One of the many unspoiled lesser known rice terraces in the Cordilleras.

Sagada, Mt. Province
A lady goes off to market to sell these vegetable flowers.

While I was walking through unmarked roads, I often wondered and imagined what lies beyond the bend. It was nice to be just alone with all my thoughts and imagined conversations with myself.

Traditional Igorot houses in Bontoc.

Betel nuts drying by the side of a road. In these parts, betel nut chewing is considered tradition and is common among men.

Alma, a young wife makes a living from weaving. She invited me to her home and showed me how she makes traditional Igorot garb. Weaving is still pretty much part of everyday life in the Cordilleras.

On my last day, with my eyes still crusty with sleep, I took this photo from my window. I'm sure people up here always wake up to something this pristine and wonderful. To city folk like me, this is something I'd treasure and preserve in a photograph.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Why are nightmares called nightmares when the worst horror you face is during the day?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Roxas Boulevard

Taken on an early day when I thought Roxas Boulevard looked like a desert oasis.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Ang gulo gulo ng mundo. Ang ingay. Ang sikip. Nakakasakal.

Gusto ko na lang maghanap ng sulok at manahimik.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

You Are Tired (I Think)

You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.

Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)

You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired.
So am I.

Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I’ll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.

e.e. cummings

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Advice For Today

“I think that’s what’s wrong with the world. No one says what they feel, they always hold it inside. They’re sad, but they don’t cry. They’re happy, but they don’t dance or sing. They’re angry, but they don’t scream. Because if they do, they feel ashamed. And that’s the worst feeling in the world. So everyone walks with their heads down and no one sees how beautiful the sky is.”

(from goodmorning ang goodnight)

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Today marks my grandfather's 103rd birthday if he were still alive.

Can you imagine being that old?

Being 30 is sometimes too much to even think about.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Month Filled With Awesome

Pieces of April. Things seen. Places been. Stories collected.

A barefoot penitent on the way to church on a holy afternoon.

People took the streets with candles on one hand, their faiths on their sleeves.

An antique carosa carries the statue of Veronica, the woman who wiped Jesus' face with a shroud. 

A parade of women all clad in black, veiled, barefoot, with thorns and leaves on their heads. Perhaps a pagan belief that predates Christianity?

Sometime after the the Easter celebrations, I took time off to see obscure coves and places off the radar. Here's a picture of fishermen bringing a boat back to shore.

Stumbling into a seemingly forgotten and abandoned ranch. 

a woodsman with fuel for a fire for the night. 

I could easily lose hours just lying on my back and looking up at trees. It's a still image of pines in the middle of nature's ballet.

Middle of nowhere places. 

Island boy

I always thought lamps slept during the day and go to work at night..

At another village, I met these stableboys, who despite of blinding heat, managed to smile and trudge and trek up a mountain with only their sandals to cover their feet. 

Stumbled onto this town's fiesta. Aaah.. Somewhere, there's always a party happening.

One hundred and thirteen years later, I would be born after this woman's death.